TWA Flight 800 Memorial Unveiled
Sun Jul 14, 5:29 PM ET

By ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press Writer

SHIRLEY, N.Y. (AP) - Relatives and friends of the 230 people killed in the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 met on a wind-whipped bluff Sunday to dedicate a permanent memorial to the victims.



"I hope this special day finds you a little stronger, a little happier, a little more secure in the faith that those who live on in our hearts are never truly gone," Gov. George Pataki told the hundreds gathered at Smith Point Park on Long Island's south shore.

The bluff is the nearest point of land to where the plane went down July 17, 1996, and overlooks a beach where debris washed ashore. The black granite memorial, designed by architect David Busch, has a gray wave and 230 gray doves on one side and the names of the victims inscribed on the other.

The reconstruct

"It brings back some memories not easy ones, but the ones I don't want to forget," said Burt James, 45, whose niece, Rebecca Olsen, 20, of Macon, Ga., died in the crash.

The Paris-bound Boeing 747 exploded in a fireball at 13,700 feet, minutes after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board ( news - web sites) ruled two years ago that an explosion in the center fuel tank caused the aircraft to disintegrate in flight. It said vapors in the nearly-empty tank probably were ignited by a spark in wiring.

The FBI ( news - web sites) concluded in a separate criminal investigation that there was no evidence a bomb or missile destroyed the plane.

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